Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that causes irreversible damage to your eyes. In addition to routine visits with your ophthalmologist, there are other ways to successfully manage glaucoma.
Investigate Newer Treatments
If you have been managing glaucoma for many years, you may be unaware of newer treatment options that you should discuss with your ophthalmologist. One such treatment is eye stents, which are surgically inserted inside the affected eye to promote drainage and decrease intraocular pressure. The stents are microscopic so you cannot feel them after insertion, and they are not visible to other people.
When effective, stents are easier to maintain than daily use of eye drops or oral medications to prevent fluid buildup. Although stents, like other treatments, cannot reverse damage or eliminate glaucoma, they may prevent glaucoma from worsening and possibly prevent additional vision loss. An eye stent can also be used if you have glaucoma with concurrent cataracts.
Manage Chronic Diseases
Many medical conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, are risk factors for the development of glaucoma. The combination of glaucoma and poorly controlled chronic diseases can increase eye damage caused by glaucoma. Furthermore, many chronic diseases also increase your risk for cataracts and vision loss. A healthy diet is one of the best tools to combat chronic diseases. Incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into your diet, which may help repair cellular damage and improve vision.
Avoid caffeine and salt. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can increase eye pressure. Eating too much salt can contribute to the development of hypertension, which can damage eyesight and eventually cause permanent vision loss. If you already have problems with your blood pressure, you may need to restrict your salt intake below the recommended allowance. Be cautious about sugar and carbohydrate intake as well. Elevated blood glucose levels can increase your risk of diabetes and additional vision problems.
Cope With Stress
If you have a highly stressful life, you need to find constructive ways to cope with stress. High amounts of stress can increase intraocular pressure, worsening glaucoma. Regular exercise is not only a good stress reduction technique, but exercise can also improve intraocular pressure. If possible, aim for a leisurely walk outdoors or on a treadmill. Alternative treatments, such as massage or acupuncture, can be effective at reducing stress and will not interact with other treatments.
When daily stress is unmanageable, consider other resources such as therapy. Regular therapy sessions can make a significant difference in your stress level, especially if you do not have a good support system. Support groups for people with glaucoma or other vision problems can be a way of finding social support and learning new ways to manage glaucoma.
Supplements containing lutein can be used if you do not consume enough leafy greens in your diet. Lutein helps protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, and may reduce your risk of developing additional eye conditions, such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. Other supplements can indirectly affect vision by helping you to manage medical conditions that increase your risk of worsening glaucoma.
Cinnamon can be used to help regulate insulin, especially if you have elevated blood glucose, but not severe enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. You can take cinnamon as a supplement, or find ways to incorporate more cinnamon into foods. Fish oil and coenzyme Q10 are used for cardiovascular benefits. If you have problems with hypertension or high cholesterol, you may want to choose supplements that can improve cardiovascular health.
Working closely with your ophthalmologist can help you effectively manage glaucoma. Although medical treatments are necessary to preserve your sight, there are lifestyle changes you can make in conjunction with standard treatments to help manage glaucoma.